328 Active Listening & Communication

Researched by Weger, Harry., Castle Bell, Gina., Minei, Elizabeth. M., & Robinson, Melissa. C. (2014). 

Written by Bethany Wellman, M.S.

Communication is a key skill in workplaces and in relationships. One communication skill is  “active listening” where you  fully concentrate on what your conversational partner is saying, make eye contact, ask questions, and periodically express what you understand the other is saying and feeling.

Researchers set out to compare using active listening, with unsolicited advice and simple acknowledgements in partner communication. Researchers trained 10 student confederates to use these three different modes of responding with 115 undergraduates in conversation for approximately 5 minutes.  Afterwards, the participants reported on whether they felt understood, their satisfaction with the communication, and their degree of social attraction.

Results? When trained students utilized active listening, their partners reported feeling more understood than when their partners gave advice or merely acknowledged their story. Both active listening and advice giving resulted in higher conversational satisfaction and feeling more social attraction.

Think of how good it feels to be heard by another. Be responsive in your conversations. Prevent miscommunication. Actively listen to others, tell them what you understand that they mean, so they know you understand. When appropriate, offer advice that can assist others.  Tune into others. Being heard and understood is powerful!


Weger, H., Castle Bell, G., Minei, E. M., & Robinson, M. C. (2014). The relative effectiveness of active listening in initial interactionsInternational Journal of Listening28(1), 13-31.

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